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On June 10, 2006, the Pentagon announced that three prisoners held at Guantánamo’s Camp Delta had committed suicide. But senior Bush Administration officials quickly went one step further: violating the normal rules of decorum, they unleashed intense verbal abuse against the deceased. Prison commander Rear Admiral Harry Harris said, “This was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetric warfare committed against us.” Senior Bush State Department official Colleen Graffy called the deaths “a good PR move” and “a tactic to further the jihadi cause.” An investigation was prepared by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that backed up these claims, but it was only released in fragmentary form months later. Were these aggressive comments and an almost incomprehensible NCIS report intentionally obscuring very different facts?
Now an exhaustive study by faculty and students at New Jersey’s Seton Hall University—the eleventh in their authoritative series—takes aim at the NCIS report and concludes that it’s little more than a “cover up.” Professor Mark Denbeaux, who directed the effort, told me in an interview that it was “Gitmo meets Lord of the Flies.” The NCIS report itself showed flagrant violations of Guantánamo’s own operating procedures and presented facts that are impossible to reconcile with its conclusions that the deaths were “suicides” resulting from a “conspiracy” among the three prisoners—one of whom was about to be released and return home. Read the full report here (PDF), and my summary of it and my interview with Denbeaux at the Huffington Post.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”